CHEVY NSCS AT MICHIGAN TWO: Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson Post Qualifying Press Conf. TranscriptsBy Official Release
Five Chevrolet SS Drivers to Start in Top 10BROOKLYN, MI – August 16, 2013 – For the 13th time this season, drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series set a new track record during qualifying. The top three drivers broke through the old threshold at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) with speeds topping 200 mph. Drivers will take on the ultra-fast, 2-mile speedway on Sunday as they compete in round 23 of the 36-race season. With only four races left until the field is set for the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, a solid run at MIS this weekend is crucial for many of the Bowtie teams.
Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS, who has two career wins at MIS, will start the race on the outside of the front row in second. Current point’s leader, Jimmie Johnson, will start the race on Sunday in the third position in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS.
Richard Childress Racing driver Jeff Burton earned his best starting position of the 2013 season, and will start in fifth in his No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet SS – giving Chevrolet three of the top five starting spots.
Other Team Chevy members starting in the top-15 are: Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS – 6th, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet SS – 7th, Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Axalta Standox Chevrolet SS – 13th, and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet SS – 15th.
Joey Logano (Ford) was the pole winner and Mark Martin (Toyota) was fourth, to round out the top-five.
The Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway takes the green flag on Sunday, August 18th at 1:00 p.m. ET, and will be aired live on ESPN.
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/SERTA CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SECOND:
YOU HAD A PRETTY SOLID LAP OUT THERE. TELL US ABOUT IT:
“I was real happy with our lap. We tuned it up a little bit from practice and it’s really neat to overlay exactly what we did here in June, when we were outside pole and try to improve on that. And the pace today was just quick. It was just an extreme pace that the qualifying simulations were showing us. I shot for a 35.35 in my mind for a lap time and ran a 35.347. I thought it would be good enough for the pole, but (Joey) Logano just hit it perfectly and if I had to say where we lost a little bit of speed was maybe my entry to Turn 2. It was just a little conservative making sure I didn’t over drive it. But to be in position like that, to have shots at poles; we’ve been on the outside of the front row I think half a dozen times this year. It’s really cool to be in position on Fridays and to have that shot at going for the pole because it’s not every week where you’re showing up having shots at sitting on the pole. So, thanks to the guys and everybody that’s working hard. I was at the shop all this week and everybody is pumped up and pushing hard. We’ve got four races to go to lock ourselves in this Chase.”
YOU AND LOGANO WENT OUT 15TH AND 16TH. WERE YOU SURPRISED NOBODY LATER IN THE SESSION WAS ABLE TO CHALLENGE?
“A little bit surprised, but it comes down to Mother Nature as close as the game is right now with the cloud cover. And I’m looking at the way the pole was won here in June, (Carl) Edwards went out sixth, so he was pretty early in the session. So that’s odd. Maybe there’s something to going out early here at Michigan. But I think it was more dependent on cloud cover and clouds did come back in a little bit toward the end and then the sun came out I think for the final half dozen guys. But that track temperature change between today it was bounding around between 112 and 107. That five degrees is almost like a tenth per degree. It’s pretty wild. That’s just because of the speed at this track. Two miles around where you’re full throttle, a little bit can go a long way.”
WAS THERE SOMETHING DURING PRACTICE THAT MADE YOU NOT WANT TO GO TOO FAR OVER IN TURN THREE?
“It was my qualifying run here in June, where I was a little loose getting down in there and I know that I left some on the table. And so today you go on the other side of the seesaw and you end up going in there conservative. But I think we really made the car better this time around to sit on the pole, but we ended with the same result. But it’s just neat to be in position to be up front and we’ll start the race from second. We got the lead early on here from (Carl) Edwards last time we raced. But we just need a nice consistent smooth run where there’s no trouble throughout the day and cash in on a good points day.”
203 MPH IS WICKED FAST. IS IT A STABLE 203 MPH?
“When your car is good, it’s very stable. If you asked a guy that qualified on the loose side, maybe sixth place when he maybe ran a 201 mph, he’s going to say that he was pretty busy in there. It comes down to the confidence in your team and what’s underneath you. And when you run 203 mph, and you’re kicking yourself a little bit like I am for just going in a little too light, that’s just because the car was stable. So 203 mph is not a problem. That’s what Dave Ferroni, my PR guy, asked. He said, ‘Is that the fastest you’ve ever gone around a track in a stock car, average speed-wise?’ And I said unbelievable at 203 mph it didn’t feel like it. But 218 mph in an IndyCar around Indy definitely feels like 218.”
“We’d have to go back and check the data, or the recordings that we have. I would say 212 is what we’re seeing for a max corner entry speed. But I can’t be for certain.”
WHAT’S THE PLAN FOR THE RACE? DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING IN YOUR MIND TO IMPROVE THE CAR FOR THE RACE?
“Tomorrow is practice. The first one is at 9:30 in the morning, which is way too early. We were even thinking about goofing off and doing a mock qualifying run in the morning just to see how fast we could go (laughs). The track is going to have so much grip. So we tried to do a long run today. We got a nice eight-lap run in today, which isn’t much; but we were trying to at least go out in the warmest conditions. And then tomorrow we have a checklist of a good three items. We need to make the car better in traffic. That’s hands-down what we have to work on if we’re going to perform well in the race. That’s our objective in practice.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED THIRD
STRONG QUALIFYING EFFORT TELL US ABOUT YOUR LAP:
“Definitely happy with the performance. Of course we wanted to be a little bit better but we had a very smooth and clean practice session made some good changes to the car and found speed as the session went on. Came close to getting another pole during qualifying so all in all just really good.”
ULTIMATELY HOW FAST CAN YOU GUYS GO HERE? IS IT JUST A MATTER OF WHAT THE TIRES LIKE THAT IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR BY THAT?
“Tires certainly play a key in it. I think there are faster tires in the Goodyear inventory that we could really pick up time around here. The hard part about our car is the mass of the vehicle weight it’s tough to get it to change directions. Even though we are going that fast we still have to have a pretty good lift in the throttle let the rear-end unlock and change directions and then you can go. I don’t know what that threshold is. I feel like you could probably come close to running flat around here especially in (turns) three and four, but I think it would be a lot slower. Every time I carry more throttle and get closer to wide open the car gets really tight and uses up a lot of race track on corner exit and slows down. I felt like and Joey (Logano) made a statement early in the session that a teen was out there and I think he’s right. I think there was a bit more out there today. Ultimately where we end up I don’t know but you know it’s not going to get any slower if they leave things like they do. The garage area is awfully smart and every time we come back we are faster.”
WAS THERE ANYTHING IN YOUR QUALIFYING LAP THAT YOU HAD THOUGHT ABOUT EARLIER? WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU WERE DOING THAT YOU THINK NOW ‘IF I HAD JUST NOT DONE THAT I WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE POLE’?
“Yeah and honestly I think everybody had the same mindset and it goes back to the first question where your mind is telling you and your senses are telling you, you think can run flat or close to it. But if you lose the front-end you lose a half of a second. If you drive in a little soft and shallow and don’t get it right you miss half a tenth or a tenth. The penalty is so much less and I think a lot of us were hedging on the safe side because we learned in the practice session earlier today you bomb it in there and scare yourself, the front-end doesn’t stick and it’s just a slow lap. That is the thing we are all trying to deal with and hit it just right.”
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